Marta Farmer
Senior; Psychology major w/ English Literature minor; Richlands, Virginia

"There are known knowns. These are things that we know. There are known unknowns. That is to say, there are things that we know we don't know. But there are also unknown unknowns. There are things we don't know we don't know."

-Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld

Metacognition is the awareness that you have of your own thinking and mental processes; it is knowing what you know and do not know. Utilizing meta-cognitive skills is essential in the college years and beyond. Part of gaining wisdom is to understand how to use your existing knowledge and how to work through what you do not know. There are many situations you face in college that require the use of metacognition.

Upon your arrival at MSU, you will not be fully aware of the resources and the opportunities campus and the Bozeman community have to offer; even students that have been here for four years do not know EVERYTHING about MSU and Bozeman . It is very important that you accept your lack of knowledge in this area and simply ask questions of returning students, resident advisors, orientation leaders, and campus faculty and staff.

Developed meta-cognitive skills are a huge bonus for class work and achieving outstanding grades. You must recognize what you do not understand in a class to be able to ask questions to a classmate or a professor. When studying for an exam, being able to categorize your knowledge makes it easier to grasp concepts that may appear on your test. In order to listen well in class and take meaningful notes, you need to be able to focus on the task at hand; you need to be aware of what you are thinking about and how it applies to you and knowledge you already have stored in that amazing mind you carry everywhere.

Tapping into your own mind is part of learning to think on your own and to apply the knowledge you already have to the knowledge you will gain in every class. The secret to college is to accept your ignorance, and then have a fulfilling adventure accumulating the information you want to know! Understanding your own mind is fun and opens many doors; so, use those meta-cognitive skills to your advantage, and you will realize the difference in wisdom and knowledge!